Mixed Martial Arts has taken off around the world in the last 5 years. More and more kids want to be fighters. More fight organizations and training camps have popped up. And we want more MMA as fans. We are seeing MMA expertise at a much higher level than ever before.
But at what point does the entertainment value peak? Has it already?
With the rise of mixed martial arts in popularity many world class athletes are becoming fighters instead of football players, baseball, hockey, basketball, etc. This is good for the sport because we get to see freak athletes become awesome fighters. But this also brings more parity to the game. A select few can't dominate the sport like they once could.
This evolution applies to all sports. Look at football many years ago. Jim Brown was considered the greatest athlete of all time at one point. He was far superior to any football player of his time. But today we see many running backs with his build and ability. Someone like an Adrian Peterson comes to mind and is a great player in today's game but does not dominate the game quite like Brown did because the guys Peterson plays against are all better athletes.
Seeing a higher level of competition is good but it is just as entertaining to watch somebody on another level from the rest show what he can do. I think that is why college football is so popular. There is not much parity there.
When I think back to the Pride FC days and open weight tournaments I just remember guys like Wanderlei Silva and Mirko Cro Cop unleashing hell on scared no named Japanese fighters. Yeah many of these fights were lop-sided but that is what made it so entertaining. How was Wandy going to finish this poor sucker?
Seeing monsters like Mark Coleman and Don Frye let loose on people was awesome. Now everybody is as big or bigger than them.
There still are a few freaks in today's game like Lesnar, St. Pierre, and Anderson Silva. But I don't think it will be that way for long. Is a St. Pierre fight really all that entertaining? I'd much rather see a Wandy head stomping over a St. Pierre wrestling clinic.
With everybody so good now, we see more technical fighting. That's not bad if you are a knowledgeable fan. But even if you are, you have to admit you miss those wild swingers like Wandy every once and a while.
As these new batch of young kids jump into the UFC with MMA backgrounds, not just wrestling or boxing backgrounds, we will see a very high level of fighting. But we wont see dominance any more. Everyone will be so good that it will be who ever slips up loses.
The evolution of the sport is inevetable and good for it, but the very entertaining wild days of old may be over.